Nkombo Island residents decry lack of ambulance

A group of Nkombo Islanders on a boat in Lake Kivu. Sam Ngendahimana.

Pregnant mothers on the island of Nkombo in Rusizi District have appealed for an ambulance since they find it difficult to reach their only health centre.

They made the appeal recently when the president of the Senate, Bernard Makuza, toured the island.

It takes two hours to reach the health centre by foot and it is difficult for pregnant mothers, many of whom give birth before reaching the health centre.

Makuza allayed their fears telling them it would be included in the Rusizi District budget for the next financial year which will also cater for the construction of a road leading to the health centre.

Francine Ntawigira, a local resident, said that lack of an ambulance was a huge burden as they mostly rely on the traditional woven litter that is carried on the shoulders (Ingobyi).

“Due to the long distance, mothers end up losing the baby on the way which is why we are requesting for an ambulance,” she said.

Other residents revealed that mothers who arrive late at the health centre are usually fined to encourage them to arrive before their due date.

Nkombo Sector is home to 8,000 residents, and is composed of five cells: Ishwa, Kamagimbo, Rwenja, Bigoga and Bugarura.

Ishwa, Kamagimbo and Rwenja are the furthest from the health centre.